Tuesday, July 4, 2023

free association and free people - by el gato malo - stop painting over rust

 so look, i’m just going to come out and say it:

there is no inherent value in “diversity.”

it’s not even really a term that has any objective meaning in a societal sense. this endless epigram represents nothing but a post-modernist cudgel used to bludgeon and browbeat society into a shape it would not otherwise choose.

and that is the very definition of tyranny.

allowing “diversity” to be narrowly defined in arbitrary fashion by a set of would be societal suzerains who push it as some end unto itself which we require in ever increasing amounts in some doctrine of “more is more” constitutes not only grievous logical and ethical fallacies, it amounts to civilizational strychnine.

this insult to personal freedom and agency demeans us all by taking from us not only our our discernment and our agency, but it goes on to break the basic hegelian mechanism of ideas, counter ideas, and synthesis thereof that generates the next round of social development and progress.

it’s the end of everything emergent and human and the entrée to an age of imposition.

and we’re going to need to get smarter and change our thinking to get out of this mess.

we keep making the same foolish mistakes again and again where every time we do not like some outcome, both sides starts squalling for some sort of intervention by leviathan and attempt to spackle more government upon the problems created by too much government as though one can fix rust by painting more rust atop it.

the internet has exploded about the students for fair admission v harvard case on affirmative action in college admissions.

both sides of the debate have been in full throated pontification be it approval

or apocalyptic approbation

and nearly everyone seems to have a strong view here.

and while i certainly take issue with gene’s take on the grounds that

“if your social movement holds that being judged by the content of your character instead of the color of your skin is oppression, your movement is morally and logically bankrupt,” i do not find the “therefore government should ban affirmative action” opinion satisfying either.

what strikes me most is the extent to which, to my mind, this whole issue has been dangerously misframed and is missing the real essence of what ought to be the debate.

one side wants government mandated affirmative action.

the other wants the government to ban this practice.

but BOTH sides are demanding that government be the solution to a thing which would be a non-problem easily addressed by choice and market forces if the government had never been involved in the first place.

and this is why unless we change the structure of this discussion, the whole issue is societal zugzwang for we the people.

because this choice should be ours to make from the bottom up, not theirs to dictate from the top down.

stop and consider: when we speak of free speech, as gorsuch so aptly put it:

it is not the government’s place to determine that which is worthy.

i would argue that the same is true of association.

just as we should be free to speak our minds and cast aside the broken and tyrannical notions of “hate speech” as some sort of legalistic premise to allow dictatorial determination of what sentiment may be uttered aloud and just as the price of free speech is allowing those who speak against that which you cherish to do so without hinderance so that you too might retain the right to opine against the treasured tenets of others, association must be made free. yes, even when people use it in a manner that we find odious.

my position is simple:

the government shall make no law either requiring or proscribing association.

it’s none of their business nor should it be. this is the purview of the individual and so too are notions of ethics and morality and of that which should be valued.

the mob rule of majoritarianism is not to be trusted here.

each and all must be free to find their own preference and path.

diversity is not some absolute value whose increase is always salubrious. it, like many things, is a goldilocks zone of not wanting too much nor too little and where individual choice serves the common weal far better than mandate.

there is no one you can trust to tell you what “just right” is from the top down. they cannot possibly have any idea what you or anyone values. “one size fits all” is, in anything more complex than the basic negative rights of self-determination, nearly always a concept that impinges rather than empowers.

the core fallacy here lies in legislating morality.

these two things are separate concepts and bringing them into some sort of synonymous unity is a path to societal demolition that replaces actual diversity with damage because such constructs are not, in fact, diverse; they are dictatorial. someone, somewhere is telling you what you can or cannot say or with whom you may not or must associate.

this is not emergent diversity, this is ideas and associative totalitarianism and there is no way to know if it is good or bad. there is no measure, no check, no balance, nor absent agency can there be any such assessment. there is no valid means to perform it.

pareto optimality is the underpinning of the power of markets. trades only occur when they benefit both sides. this is assured in systems of free choice and thus all trades within them are mutually beneficial. association is no different and this too requires choice.

who will you marry? who will you hire or admit to your institution or club or allow to patronize your business?

what will maximize your chance at happiness, choice or mandate?

because you may only chose one. it’s binary. mandate prevents choice. it rigs the market of interaction and agency.

that is not diversity nor a path thereto, it’s the obliteration of it by effacing the very process that would help us discover what useful diversity is.

are companies better with more people from group A or group B or group C? who knows? what does “better” even mean and how could anyone claim to arrive as some objective standard?

it’s like asking “what should the price of a banana be?” or “what movies will be popular next year?”

these answers cannot be known a priori. they must emerge from market mechanism else there is no way to trust or to validate them.

the amount and type of diversity that makes us societally happy is not and cannot be a matter for the state to decide. such morality and optimization must lie with we the people not with legalistic leviathans bigfooting their way through our lives and livelihoods. such power becomes inevitably corrupt and serves as the tool of inquisitions, not enlightenments.

and that has a truly terrible history.

so let’s get the state out of this business altogether.

government agencies are different as they stand for all the people and must therefore be open to all and so too, to my mind, must be those groups the state funds. (which includes nearly all universities and so if they wish to act as free entities, they should seek to cease being wards of the state)

but for private citizens, businesses, institutions, and associations:

there should be no laws prescribing or proscribing association.

yes, people will use this in ways you do not like.

that’s the price of agency.

bars will ban men.

gyms will ban women.

clubs will be only for black people or (shudder) not allow cats.

companies will hire as they like and serve those customers they choose for whatever reason they select or for no reason at all and need not explain themselves to anyone.

but this hardly leaves them unaccountable.

consumer sovereignty remains supreme.

if women are paid lower wages than men for doing the same work, then companies that hire them will thrive and have an advantage over their competitors. and they will win. free market capitalism is a powerful force against sexism, racism, and discrimination of all sorts.

no one should be allowed to tell you for whom you must or may not bake a cake, but if you refuse to make cakes for some people, you limit your market and open up opportunity for those who do not share your bias.

or perhaps some bias is good. do we really want pedophile cakes or to demand that companies hire cannibals because “diet diversity is a core tenet of inclusiveness”?

it seems not.

but this is for us to decide, for each and all to pursue their own happiness and weigh the costs and the benefits arising therefrom.

and the “diversity wizards” are not on our side here.

you cannot mandate people into wanting to be around other people and doing so does not foster connection, it fosters strife.

all this “diversity theater” is not about inclusiveness or tolerance.

it is their antithesis.

it’s mandate. it’s force. it’s someone telling you that diversity of skin tone is vital but that diversity of opinion must be suppressed. it’s pretty near the perfect definition of actual no fooling around racism, patronage, clientism, and outright mascotism.

it demeans those it seeks to uplift by calling forever into question their actual merit and accomplishments. are you here because you are smart and capable and diligent or because you check a quota box and slid in on a requirement? what basis is that for equality or understanding?

it’s neither right nor righteous, it’s resentment fuel.

the state will keep stirring this pot because having it stirred serves them. it divides and sets up dependence and opposition.

it pits those being granted preference against those who are having opportunity taken from them by creating a zero sum game for status that’s vastly negative sum for society and cross-cultural understanding.

it’s just another broken market, but one that breaks our civilization and our republic with it.

in this regard bans on affirmative action are no better than requirements for it.

both cede to the state the power to decide the terms of our association and this is not a power the state should have.

a government powerful enough to give you everything you want is also powerful enough to take everything you have.

this is a prospect to be gravely regarded and assiduously avoided.

morality is the purview of the people not the state and we must reclaim this.

stop thinking about state as solution and start thinking about how to remove it as a problem. this is the essence of a rights based republic and the foundation of a free people.

it’s not about tactics like “can you be allowed to say X?” or “can a university be permitted to admit based on Y?” reputation, consumer sovereignty, and freedom can handle all that and erect effective emergent edifices for civilizational thriving.

this is about who gets to decide these things, us or the state.

and there is no “middle way.”

that choice is and must be a binary.

and that is no choice at all if indeed:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

choose well.